SuperclÃ¡sico Preview: River Plate v Boca Juniors.
With a combination of 64 Domestic League Championships and 8 Copa Libertadores' between them, it's easy to see why both clubs are the dominant two in Argentinian football's history. El Superclásico is guaranteed to throw up passion, pride, nuttery and a bit of class somewhere; as that is usually what separates these two sides on the day.
River Plate are often portrayed as the more upper-class club as they moved to affluent district of Nunez in 1923, with Boca the working man's club of Argentina.
The hosts of the derby this weekend, River Plate, have gone through some turbulent times in the last few months. Only a few weeks ago, Nestor Gorosito was sacked after major fan pressure. After his departure, Los Millionarios' chairman Jose Maria Aguilar turned to the 39 year-old Leonardo Astrada, who retired in 2003 and made over 300 appearances for River Plate. In his time as a player, he won 11 major titles - the most successful player in River's history. Sunday is his first major test at the helm and he will put his young self against the experience of Carlos Bianchi and Afilo Basile. Astrada, who had 32 Argentina Caps, is set to go for the 4-3-1-2 formation, which almost certainly confirms that Matias Almeyda will play in the "Libero" position. River's team hasn't been officially confirmed, but with a stab in the dark, here goes.
River: Vega, Ferrari, Cabral, Villagra, Sanchez, Gallardo, Domingo, Abeleiras, Almeyda, Ortega, Buonanotte
Boca Juniors, coached by the experienced Alfio Basile, are able to call-on the services of former Barcelona and Villarreal playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme and he is expected to start in midfield for La Azul y Oro. Basile is expected to set his team out 4-4-2 away from home, with Nicolas Gaitan and Martin Palermo in attack. The side, from the La Boca area of Buenos Aires, has been on a decent run and have won their last three games against Velez, Tigre and Racing Club. When you lose games like Godoy Cruz at home 3-2, and a 2-0 away defeat to Atletico Tucuman, then you rightly deserve to be under pressure and such lapses could come back to haunt them over the season.
Boca: Abbondanzieri, Caceres, Paletta, Ibarra, Monzon, Riquelme, Battaglia, Rosada, Insua, Palermo, Gaitan
As always, the highly anticipated match has all the ingredients for another awesome match at El Monumental. The game will kick off around 8pm our time, but given the length of time it takes to clear the confetti and the huge inflatable tunnels, it may be later. It's a game that will always be tough to predict; based on recent form I think Boca Juniors will take the three points on Sunday, with the experience of Basile and Bianchi overpowering the youth of Astrada. I'll go for River Plate 1-3 Boca Juniors with a big performance from Juan Riquelme, long overdue.
Any available and legal links for the game will available in the Apertura thread.